Perry would be a much weaker candidate than Romney, but if the voters are determined to fire the incumbent, then even a weak challenger can prevail. (See Barack Hussein Obama, 2008 candidacy of.)

In which case, not only tea party Republicans but all Republicans and all Americans will confront the problem: what next?

The tea party stands for a series of propositions that don’t meet the reality test: that deficits matter more than jobs, that cutting deficits and tightening credit will accelerate economic growth, that high taxes and over-regulation are the most important reasons that growth has not revived, and that America still offers the world’s best opportunity for the poor to rise. Tea party plans call for a radical shift in the burden of taxation from the rich to the poor — and promise big reductions in government spending without touching any of the benefits of current retirees.

If put into practice, the tea party platform is a formula for political and economic crisis.